HOLLYWOOD—I have not seen a good superhero flick in quite some time. With that said, I will point out that “Black Adam” is NOT a great superhero movie, but it does entertain, but it starts a bit slow. The flick starring Dwayne ‘The Rock’ Johnson as the anti-hero has a lot going on in the first act. So much to the point that I was indeed lost and had to re-watch to focus on exactly what was taking place. So let me rewind a bit to explain the narrative for the audience so we’re all on the same page.
We get a flashback to a time where the king Ahk-Ton of Kahndaq who is after the Crown of Sabbac to obtain unbelievable power, but his quest is undone by a young slave and he earns the powers of Shazam defeating Akh-Ton in the process. Then we bounce to the present day, where archeologist, Adrianna (Sarah Shahi), who is searching for the Crown in Kahndaq, and in the process, awakens Teth-Adam (Johnson), who goes on a rampage killing quite a few people in the process.
The audience is almost made to think this character is a villain, but soon discovers as the narrative progresses, he is a good guy that has had plenty of bad things happen to him shaping his perspective on the world. That chaos Teth-Adam causes leads Amanda Waller (Viola Davis), the government official from the Justice Society attempt to neutralize the threat. Her goal is to send several other superheroes, Hawkman (Aldis Hodge), Doctor Fate/Kent Nelson (Pierce Brosnan), Cyclone/Maxine Hunkel (Quintessa Swindell) and Atom Smasher/Albert Rothstein (Noah Centineo) to halt his mayhem.
Here is the problem with all these other characters, particularly Cyclone and Atom Smasher, who are there, but they are not fully developed as characters in my opinion. As a viewer, I forgot they were in the movie and honestly, I did not care if they were there or not and that is just bad writing in my opinion people. Hodge does a decent job as Hawkman with his banter, and Brosnan I thought was a bright point as the voice of reason in all this mayhem. He brings a charm and wisdom to the character that is fun to watch on the screen.
There are some dynamics at play with Adrianna and her core group, as a traitor is revealed and Adrianna’s son get caught up in the melee with the Crown of Sabbac, which ultimately throws the narrative into a fun zone as we see the action heighten to an explosive, action-driven second and third act that totally locks in the viewer’s attention.
The first half of this movie bored me, the second act grabbed my attention and the third act had me glued to the screen, as the action aligned with the narrative a bit more and I found myself NOT just entertained, but following the story. My biggest frustration was the teeter of the writers choosing to make Black Adam full blown villain. There was never that theme in the movie in my opinion and that hurt the narrative.
If you’re telling the audience you have an anti-hero, than you need to ensure that anti-hero is there the entire time expected. Why? It gives another layer to the character and brings more nuanced to the story. Instead it’s like a swap, half way thru and we get this major backstory that makes the audience love Black Adam even more because we understand the logic behind his actions and his behavior. The visual effects are stellar, the fight sequences, gunfire and explosions are top-tier and heighten the story, but it is not an epic movie people. It works which is what important in a movie. That teaser in the mid-credits scene opens the door for a fun surprise in whatever movie DC Comics plans next. “Black Adam” kept my attention enough throughout as a solid flick.